April 24, 2017

Last night a lady checked into our room after everyone was in bed with the lights out. So the guy working the front desk came in to show her where she was staying and turned the lights on (which was annoying and unnecessary) and made no attempt to be quiet. Once he left the lady started talking to…the room of sleeping people. In a normal voice. And apologized for the snoring that she would be doing. Ughhhhhh. And this is what she sounded like from the opposite side of the room.

But it was a lot louder. So I didn’t get tons of rest last night, thankfully I was able to listen to my white noise app on my phone or I wouldn’t have gotten any.

Today I did tons of exploring though! I am determined to see as much as possible (hopefully all) that I have on my list of places in Auckland! I did decide that I didn’t want to walk quite so far today though, so I took the train.

First I wandered through an area near downtown called Britomart, which was pretty cool. I especially loved the lights they had in one area.

The main reason that I went to that area was because of a chocolate shop called Milse that was supposed to be good. It looked cool when I walked in but I felt completely ignored by the employees, so I left without buying anything.

While I was there I went by my New Zealand bank (Kiwibank) and closed my account. It’s really weird to be so close to leaving and starting to close and finish up so many last minute things.

After that I went to the InterCity bus station because I had signed up for a tour of Auckland (to use up the last of my credit for the bus system.) It was a half a day tour and kinda a last minute decision but I am really glad that I did it. I actually kinda wish I had done it at the beginning of my time in New Zealand, it would have been good to have seen and known some of the things earlier (like what areas I would have explored more.) Until this time around I thought that I didn’t really care for Auckland but it’s definitely changed my mind this week.

They took us around to see several of the landmarks in Auckland and our guide told us a lot of stories and historical information, which was pretty interesting.

One of the first places that we stopped was Parnell, so I got the chance to go through the shops again and I stopped at a chocolate shop and bought a Chocolate Butterscotch Creme hot chocolate.

Which was amazing. I also tried a macaroon for the first time, which was also good.

The shop also had this sign out front, which I kinda loved. 🙂

Each time our bus driver let us out he would give us a time to be back to the bus. I am already careful to be on time for stuff like that but this guy was pretty strict. I’m sure he has to be since he has a schedule but at one of the first stops there were two girls (probably in their 20s) who weren’t there on time and he gave them about 5 extra minutes and he just left them behind. lol. I felt bad for them but it was completely their fault. He expected that they would catch up with us later but they never did.

One of the places that we went by was Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park, which pretty and the views were amazing! I wish we had had time to look around more.

Once we got back I got some pizza for lunch and took the bus out to the zoo. I was determined that I would see a kiwi bird before I left New Zealand, and this was my last chance. There are a bunch of tourist type people in Auckland this week for the World Masters Games and most of them had lanyards on, so they were pretty easy to spot. One couple was on the bus with me and I could tell from the way that they talked that they were from the States so I struck up a conversation with them. They were going to the zoo too so we helped each other find it. The bus dropped us off at the road but the zoo was pretty far from the road so we took the trolley to the zoo, which was pretty fun. 🙂

Once we got to the zoo I headed straight for the kiwi bird area because I wanted to be sure to see them. The area that they have them in is a small building and they have day and night reversed in there so that people can see the nocturnal creatures. Which is a neat idea. 🙂 They also have it so it looks like there are glowworms on the ceiling, which is fun. 🙂

Unfortunately the kiwis were not out when I got there, they were sleeping in their homes. I was pretty frustrated but I decided to wait, because I was determined not to leave without seeing one (and because I had basically paid $25 just to see them.) So I waited. And waited. And waited. For about an hour and a half. But my patience was rewarded! They fed the kiwis around 4 so they all came out and I got to see them, which was so fun! 😀 Unfortunately, because it was so dark in there, and because the signs said not to use a flash, I wasn’t really able to get a good picture. This is the best I got, and that was because someone else broke the rules and used their flash. lol. Even then it’s really hard to tell, but it’s in the middle, next to the tree.

They are about the size of a chicken and my favorite part about them is the way that they walk/run. lol! Here is a video from the internet that gives you a much better idea. 😀

They also apparently lay the biggest eggs, in comparison to their body size, of all birds. Here is Gladys near a model of their egg.

Once the kiwis came out it got very crowded in that building so I left to let other people see them too. From there I just wandered around the zoo for a while until it got closer to closing time. Some of the animals were pretty fun but none of them were anything that I hadn’t seen before.

I think that the meerkats were probably my favorite other than the kiwis. 🙂

After the zoo I just went back to the hostel and hung out there for the night since I was pretty tired and I wasn’t too sure about how safe it was to wander around Auckland alone at night.

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